Study: New Mothers Don’t Fight For Medical Malpractice Rights–WHY?!

Birth Injury, Cases

The only weapons most ordinary people have against powerful institutions that violate their rights are lawsuits. Such institutions include hospitals. However, numerous studies have found that while medical errors are common, malpractice litigation is rare. This means that the majority of victims of medical malpractice never receive any compensation because they never sue.

Unfortunately, cases that do go to court are less likely to win financial settlements when compared to those settled outside of court. This leads some people to incorrectly believe that there is a high rate of frivolous lawsuits when in fact it is because clear-cut cases don’t go to trial while less clear-cut cases will. Additionally, the process of filing a lawsuit can be the only way to obtain information from physicians and hospitals to even determine if malpractice occurred. Unless a lawsuit is filed, hospitals have no legal obligation to share information or depose staff.

Obstetrics carries an innate risk that some other kinds of medical practice areas do not. Babies can become stuck, are stillborn, or have complications from birth that last a lifetime and nothing even the best doctors could do to prevent the outcome. Since most birth injuries to children will require lifelong care, parents may see no alternative but to sue for whatever compensation they can get to provide their disabled child with the support they will need.

However, despite the innate risks in obstetrics, there are still high levels of avoidable medical errors. Negligent injuries to mothers and their infants are relatively common, but only 2% of the victims of negligent injuries will commence a lawsuit and only 1% of those lawsuits are successful. Obstetricians claim that liability costs threaten their livelihood, but this is not supported by evidence.

For many women, lawsuits are the only way to fight the administration of a hospital. Hospitals will continue to refuse to answer questions a woman’s care. Without the possibility of commencing a lawsuit, hospitals will continue to violate women’s rights without fear of repercussions and women and their children may never be able to obtain information about what happened to them.